VAI’s Mental Health Symposium in Second Life

Sojourner Auditorium, Virtual Ability Island, Second Life

The 2023 Virtual Ability Inc., (VAI) Mental Health Symposium on Friday, May 12th, 2023, a little ahead of the internationally supported Mental Health Awareness Week (May 15th through 21st, inclusive). As such, it forms a part of a wide range of physical world and virtual world events framed around Mental Health Awareness Month, which has been throughout May observed in the United States since 1949.

2023 marks the 12th such symposium hosted by Virtual Ability Inc., and has the theme Self-Identity and Mental Health. As with previous years, the symposium will feature a broad cross-section of speakers, who this year will be talking on a range of  identities, from “mad” to autistic, from military to caregiver.

The Symposium will take place in the virtual world of Second Life, at the Sojourner Auditorium on Virtual Ability Island. Those from outside of Second Life wishing to attend can do so by creating a free Second Life account through Virtual Ability’s Sign-Up Portal, and then entering Second Life via Virtual Ability’s New Resident Orientation Course.

The Symposium schedule – click to view

The schedule of speakers for the event can be found on the Virtual Ability Inc., website, and presentations commence at 07:00 SLT (US PDT) on the morning of Friday, May 12th, and run through to the concluding presentation, which starts at 12:00 noon, with each session lasting approximately one hour. For ease of reference, a brief summary of the presentations is provided below – but do please check the complete schedule via the link above for the fullest information on speakers and talks.

  • 07:00 SLT: Dr. Joanna Fox, Associate Professor in Mental Health Recovery at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, England – “Mental Ill-health and the Recovery Process”.
  • 08:00 SLT: Dr. Yasuhiro Kotera, Associate Professor in Mental Health at the University of Nottingham, England – “Cultures and how we feel well: Making a global map of mental health personal recovery”.
  • 09:00 SLT: Dr. Kate Cooper, clinical psychologist and researcher, University of Bath, England – “Autism social identity and well-being”.
  • 10:00 SLT: Dr. Fred Berlin, Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, USA – “Transgender Persons (Gender Dysphoria)”.
  • 11:00 SLT: Dr. Bonnie Vest, Research Associate Professor in the Primary Care Research Institute, Department of Family Medicine, University at Buffalo, USA and Dr. Rachel Hoopsick, Assistant Professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Community Health at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, USA – “Military Identity and Service Expectations among Reservists: Associations with Mental Health and Substance Use”.
  • 12:00 SLT: Wonkyung Jung, PhD, RN, Postdoctoral Fellow in the RESILIENCE Centre, Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, Baltimore, USA – “Social Integration and Resilience”.
Sojourner Auditorium, Virtual Ability Island, Second Life

About Virtual Ability

Virtual Ability, Inc. is a non-profit corporation, chartered in the state of Colorado, USA.  It is a non-profit tax exempt organization under section 501(c)(3) of the United States Internal Revenue Code. This means that for US citizens, contributions made are deductible as a charitable donation for federal income tax purposes.

Virtual Ability hosts this annual Symposium to share information about mental health and mental disabilities with the general population. Within its cross-disability community, VAI has members who deal with a variety of mental health issues. So, not only is this an opportunity for VAI community members to learn more about topics related to mental health from experts they probably would not have a chance to meet otherwise, it allows the general public to attend a professional conference at no cost.

With thanks to Gentle Heron for the information.

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